Tag Archives: TUGG

Announcing the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge and other ROW News


Hey ROW80 friends!  I hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!  Mine was short but sweet since my parents came up for the holiday and spent it with my honey’s family.  Everyone hit it off splendidly and I was happy to have a bit of home before starting my midnight shift for Black Friday.  I did an 11 hour shift that day and worked through the weekend, which equaled about 7 days in a row.  Today was my first day off, and I admit it, I didn’t write on my novel.  I had a Downton Abbey marathon.  It felt good to be a bum for a day.  Real good.

But…exciting things are happening!

ROWmodel Awards are back!

ROWmodel of the week goes to Jessica Fritsche and her post, Know When To Fold Em.  After struggling with her WIP finding hole after hole, she set it aside to go back to a different project and is a busy writer bee using this new project for her NaNo novel.  She cracked out 4,000 words in one day and sounds like she’ll keep going strong!  Go Jessica, we’re all rooting for you!

Honorary ROWmodel of the week also goes to Myndi Shafer for Making It Happen:  Work How You Can, When You Can.  You’ll never guess where Myndi sometimes goes to get her writing done.  This girl’s got gumption; and she’s using it to make her dreams come true!

The 2013 TBR Pile Challenge has kicked off!

So exciting!!!!  Adam at Roof Beam Reader has launched the 2013 To Be Read Pile Challenge!  Haven’t participated before?  You must!  I love it!  The challenge, should you choose to accept it, involves picking 10 books (plus 2 alternates) off your bookshelf that have been sitting there for at least a year.  Books with a publication date of 12/31/11 or before all qualify.  You have the course of 2013 to read your 10 books and link back a review of the book along the way.  Complete the challenge and you could win a $50 Amazon gift card!  I’m working on my book list now!

What titles would be on your list?

A Reggae CD Giveaway!

Looking for some new jams?  I’m hosting a music giveaway with Wisconsin Reggae band, TUGG, for a FREE copy of their full cd, Come Sunrise.  All you need to do to enter is comment or tweet one of the interview posts I did with the lead singer, Andrew Hughes.  Part 1 is about the changing music industry and Part 2 is about social media and the music business.  Chime in!  We’d love to hear your voice!

Last, but not least, The Redhots are back!

Tune in this Friday for another FIERY edition of The Redhots!  Marcia Richards and I are back introducing you to two REDHOT ladies you’ll want to know on Twitter!  Want a hint for who it’ll be?

  • The first is going to tell you how to feng shui your house!
  • And the other is the founder of the largest book club in the world!

Two Redheads.  Two Opinions.  Keeping it REDHOT.

Share with me, my pretties!  How was your holiday?  How is ROW80 going?  What books are on your TBR list?  Could you use a new reggae cd?  And who do you think our Twitter guests will be?

What the Music Industry Can Teach Us About the Publishing One, Part 2

Hello and welcome back music lovers and readers!  We’re continuing our chat about the music industry and what we can learn from it in terms of the publishing field.  Missed out on Part 1?  No fear!  Click here!

What’s our focus today?

Social Media in the Music Industry

But first, meet our band!

TUGG:  Andrew Hughes-Vocals/Guitar, Joe Gantzer-Guitar/Keyboard, Jake McLees-Bass, and Ben Rohde-Drums

(Excerpt from their California Tour DVD – filmed and edited by Rob Born, Resident Cameraman, literally…He told me I’m his favorite roommate!)  *grins*

Here them play!  

And see more mustaches.

Bradley Was a DJ

Lovers Rock

Like the tunes?  You can win both songs and more by commenting on today’s post!  Chances improve by commenting on Part 1 or tweeting both posts!  Winner receives a FREE copy of TUGG’s full album:

Come Sunrise

Social Media:  The Why’s, the What’s In It For Me, and its Wonders (fans!)

Jess:  There are many positive effects surrounding e-publishing:  readers can check out excerpts of your book before buying, cost is less overall, authors earn more (on average), receipt of the product is instant.  But all these advancements mean we market and perform differently.  Book clubs and book bloggers have become a widely watched group of people because their reviews are now driving book sales.  Do you think the impact on music sales or concert attendance is as driven by audience at this time?

Andy:  Yes I do.  The audience is driving the boat.  We’re an independent band so we can’t book a tour on the promise or premise that we’ll sell out the venue.  The promoters and venues have to trust that we have the audience reach or the potential to reach the audience in that market.  When we get to a point within a market that we know we’ll be successful I think it changes.  We control our own destiny a little bit more and then it becomes our responsibility to grow that market and make sure we are doing a good job of getting our products into their hands.

Blogging for authors has become a way for the writer to interact with his readers.  We can get to know one another by commenting and sharing personal stories.  In what ways does the band outreach to its listeners?

We’re constantly doing Social Media and meeting our friends/fans.  When we meet folks at shows we always try and get connected with them on a social media platform or exchange numbers so we can text them.  Anyway that we can keep the conversation open and let them know when we’ll be back in their town.  Our audience, which become our friends is the backbone of everything we do.  When we go to a new market, our goal is simple.  Make at least 1 new friend on this night and in this city.  If we can at the very least do that we’re successful.  The second part of that equation is that hopefully and usually that 1 friend brings a friend the next time.  So if we do our job well and keep in touch with the first friend, hopefully everytime we come back to that city our crowd grows outward from that one fan.  Then you start having more and more little groups that just keep growing.  Honestly, those are the folks that year after year are who we put on our guest-list when we play, that original friend we made on our first or second time through a city.

When we go to a new market, our goal is simple.  Make at least 1 new friend on this night and in this city.

We also have found it to be important to keep sharing our music and ideas with our friends.  Sites like Bandcamp and Jam’s Space, and YouTube have been a  great way for us to keep offering our true friends/fans incentives, free music, etc.

L to R: Andrew Hughes, Ben Rohde, Jake McLees; Center: Joe Gantzer

What’s the best way a fan can support the band?

The best way for someone to support us is to friend us, like us, follow us, share us, etc on Social Media and our website http://www.tuggmusic.com.  From there, buying our albums and merchandise from us at our shows is the best way to monetarily support the band.  If you are not able to get to a show then buying and sharing our albums on things like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, etc are also solid ways to show support.  We’re all about sharing.  In our industry sharing is truly caring.  If we can get 50 people in 1 day to share our Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/tuggmusic) in a few days and we get 100 more “likes” it means everything.

Growing fans is like oxygen for artists and performers.  We thrive on our audience’s excitement.  With technology’s advancements for instant download of a book or album, they’re also much hungrier for “the next big thing” that much quicker.  Many writers have released novellas and flash fiction pieces to maintain presence in the reader’s mind.  Do you think the same process applies in music with the increase in singles and EP’s?

Yes definitely.  We’ve talked about this as a band and we’re actually in the middle of releasing music for this very reason.  We live in a “what have you done for me lately” society and it is no different being a musician/artist.  As you said, everyone is looking for the next big release or next big something constantly.  We were releasing 1 album a year for our first 3-4 years and we feel like we’re behind.  We’re actually going to release some tracks that we recorded around the time we did our last EP Home Brew as it’s own EP on iTunes digitally.  We will begin to record our next full length album at the end of this month.  We figured that doing this release now will give us a little room and space to release the full length album on our own terms as far as a timetable.  It’s nice to be able to put something out and then put your head down to work on the next when the rest of the world is just starting to digest that release…..at least that is our plan.

How has social media changed the number of your followers?  Do you think it has impacted your music sales?

Yes it completely has.  Our last 3 albums have gone to the Top 50 Chart on iTunes Reggae.  Our last album Home Brew went to #2 and it is directly because of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in that order.  It has also changed the way in which we can tour and hit markets when we play out.  Because of Facebook and Twitter we are able to pack in places consistently and keep our overhead lower.  We don’t have to spend a whole lot of money on advertisements but we can still bring people into venues so it’s a definite win and something that has changed the way we do business for the better.

[Social media] has also changed the way in which we can tour and hit markets when we play out.

The writing community is full of wonderful, talented individuals.  But the act of writing is a solitary career.  How would your life be different as a solo musician?  What has the band meant to you personally and professionally?

My life as a solo musician would be a completely new experience.  I started music as part of a band and I have always been a part of a group.  I learned guitar so that I could musically contribute to the group dynamic.  For me, all I know about music is about being with a group of people that collaborate to create.  I don’t know if I could be a “Solo Musician”.  I think I need that group dynamic around me to feel comfortable with what I do.  It’s easier to know your place, what to do.  I know how I fit into the group and what my contributions must be.  I’ve also been lucky, especially with the lineup now to be surrounded by some of the most talented people I’ve ever known, so I try and be like a sponge most of the time….musically speaking.  A lot of my learning and growth as a musician and a songwriter is done like that.  Soaking up a little of the sheer greatness that’s constantly moving around me.  Besides the technical aspect of creating music with a group I will have to say that being in this band, and hopefully to anyone else that does what I do…being in a band is one of the greatest feelings you can know.  You form a brothership and there is this sense of comradery that I can’t really explain and there’s is really nothing else like it…

Truth:  Worst thing about being on tour.

Missing my wife and daughters.

Best thing about being on tour.  And where was your favorite show played so far?

Creating experiences through music and getting to share those with my best friends.  Also, the people we get to meet and some of the sights we get to see.

Favorite show: House of Blues Chicago with The Dirty Heads on St. Patrick’s Day (Sold Out)

What do you predict is next for the music industry?  Any wishes for the next 10 years?

I don’t know what’s next for the music industry other than it’s going to change, and it’s going to happen quick.  
I think that as far as format (Mp3 downloads on iTunes, etc) it will stay generally the way it is for a while but the delivery method is going to get crazy.  So there, that is my prediction.  Something huge is going to happen with the Delivery Format of music.  Like we’ll get into our shower and the shower head is going to ask us if we want to download the latest Katy Perry Record or something, haha.

My wishes for the next 10 years is to be able to continue doing what I am doing and hopefully being able to grow it into something that me and the band can comfortably do full-time.

Andy, thank you again for  contributing your thoughts on what it takes to stay competitive and smart in our industries!  Social media is everywhere now, but you have to use it wisely to be successful, and TUGG is definitely exhibiting some smart business moves and growing a fan base from your interactions!  Much success to all of you!

TUGG’s official website

TUGG on Facebook

TUGG on Twitter

Got a question for TUGG?  Share an opinion on social media?  What’s your favorite medium?  I think mine’s Twitter…which is funny cuz I can’t write short blog posts to save my life!

Happy Weekend Everyone!  See you in the comments section!

What the Music Industry Can Teach Us About the Publishing One, Part 1

I live with a musician.  And over the years, Joe and I have had several conversations about the similarities in progression of the music industry with the publishing one.  It wasn’t all that long ago that the buzz topic was programs like Napster and then i-Tunes changing the face of music.  Instant download isn’t only for e-books.  Audiences can buy a single song versus the whole album, and now many writers are letting readers download free chapters for a taste of their books.

To discuss the matter further, I hounded my boyfriend’s band’s lead singer to share his take on the music industry and the similarities it has to the publishing one.  We had such a good time discussing the industries we work in, I had to split the interview into 2 parts.  Tune in Friday for Part 2.

And a quick announcement to say the winners of my Mix Tape Blog Swap Music Giveaway are:  

Julie Glover, Dawn Hobbie Sticklen, and Renee Schuls-Jacobson

Congrats, Ladies!

Meet TUGG.

L to R: Ben Rohde, Andy Hughes, Joe Gantzer, and Jake McLees

TUGG, apart from being four of the grooviest guys I know, is an original Wisconsin reggae band.  Our state may be known for snowstorms, cheese curds, and “Midwest Nice” attitudes, but these boys can still jam their original reggae – ska style tunes on topics of summer, friendship, and love.  Here’s their latest music video!  (fun fact: It was filmed in my house.)

Meet Andy.

Andy Hughes is the lead singer and writer for TUGG.  And I’ve gotta say, he’s a writer I respect.  He takes what he does seriously and exemplifies the hard work that goes into it.  He is one of the most humble people I know, and never takes his own talent for granted.  It was an absolute pleasure conducting this interview with him.  Now see for yourselves:

How many years have you been playing music professionally?

In terms of getting paid to perform music I have been doing it since I was about 17/18, so just more than 13 years.

How have you seen the music industry change over those years?

The biggest and most noticeable change is one that I think anyone my age could identify with and that is the shift from “physical” to “digital”. When I first started booking shows I had to actually send a “Press Packet” which would contain a demo CD, a printed and bound band bio, stickers and anything else that looked professional.  When we did early tours we would print out directions and then put them in a binder.  I can remember how amazing it was when we got our first navigation device in the van.  Now, whomever is driving is just using the navigation on their own cell phone.  Napster was just hitting when TUGG started in 2001 so in the early years selling our music digitally was not an option but we knew that it was going to be the way, so to speak.  Nowadays, we have 1 site on our website: www.tuggmusic.com/about that serves the same purpose that those packets used to.  In those days I would have to send out around 100-200 of those physical packets which probably weighed close to 2 lbs to schedule a 2-3 month tour.  It’s pretty crazy to think that now when we are booking or once we’ve booked a show we send the promoter 1 link that has everything they need on 1 web page ready for them to download.


In what ways do you try to practice your craft?

I am a writer so that is what I am constantly doing.  There’s no real format that I stick to when I write.  I tend to leave little notebooks, pieces of paper, backs of bills around with words, ideas, characters, etc.  Music and songwriting have always been a vehicle for me to express my words.  I am also constantly playing my guitar and trying to write songs.  With songwriting I have a mixed approached and a few different types of processes but they both involve trying to shape music around words that I have written.  The band itself also practices between 4-5 hrs a week on top of the shows that we play.

Yah, I’m aware of that, it happens in my basement!  Who are your music idols?

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Tupac, Tim Armstrong, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, The Specials, Nirvana, The Misfits, Operation Ivy, Sublime, Toots and the Maytals, Jeff Buckley, Desmond Dekker, “Scratch” Lee Perry, The Doors.……..to name just a few!


As writers, we hope for book reviews and blurbs from our favorite authors.  Their advice and approval drives us to keep writing.  What musicians/bands have you worked with that have best exemplified support in the music industry?  What advice has been the most valuable?

Working with Brad from The Ziggens has formed one of those relationships in which there’s a lot of respect and you could say that I look for his approval from time to time on music or decisions I’m making (especially at the time that we were recording with him).  Some of the best advice I received from Brad was to,  “sing less words and say more”,  which is easier said than done.  Josh Heinrichs is another person that we all really respect and has really supported us by bringing us into his hometown and putting us in front of his fans…opening his home to us.  Josh and his wife Kaytee are some of the nicest people in the world and have welcomed us into their lives and home more than once.  Receiving a “good job”, or “awesome set” from Josh means a heck of a lot!

Sing less words and say more.


In the last 10 years, the publishing industry has radically changed.  E-book sales and self publishing are a valuable option for writers.  Similarly, the music industry has changed from programs like Napster to I-Tunes.  And almost everyone has a portable device like an ipod or their phone allowing them to be plugged in all the time.  What changes have you, as a musician, made to stay in touch with the evolving music industry?

We’ve been lucky enough to really grow up in this new digitally charged Music industry.  Napster is the reason I was able to find bands and have immediate access to their music so I was taught or self-learned from that moment to make sure that I as an artist was plugged into the digital landscape and stay current with the changes that are constantly shifting.  I think some of the biggest game changers have been iTunes, Facebook, and YouTube.  Facebook is literally an online community and it’s readily set up to help you as an artist connect with people that want to associate with you and be your “friend”.  The idea of getting “likes” for your band is one of the first things you’ll notice people will say when talking about a band.  YouTube has been one of those unique platforms in which the truly “unknown” can become overnight sensations.  To a certain degree it’s the last real frontier for discovering the unknowns without being a person that is out in clubs and dive bars scouring for undiscovered talent.  We’ve just always made sure we’ve stayed current on technology.  We make sure that it works for us, because not everything does and the feeling that you have to do everything is overwhelming.  We’re putting QR codes on all of our stuff (posters, stickers, flyers) that people can scan for 10 free songs, we’ve had a lot of success with our Music Videos on YouTube, and we always try and make sure we make as big a splash as possible when we release music.  We always go for those big release days on iTunes because we know how important that can be.

We make sure that it works for us, because not everything does and the feeling that you have to do everything is overwhelming.


And yet, it remains a dream for many writers to be traditionally published.  There is still a stigma that a large publishing firm carries more authentication and respect to the work than that of a self published writer.  What are your thoughts on the various options musicians have for record deals now?

I think it is more difficult and far less romantic for bands to get “signed” or be offered “recording contracts” now.  The day and age of Artist Development is gone.  The big record companies are seeking the bands/performers that can give them the fastest turn around.  If you look at shows like American Idol and The Voice I think it really captures where the Mainstream Music Industry is today.  The big recording companies want people that can go live on a major network TV station 1 night and by the next morning can have a Top 10 song on iTunes.  They’re not looking for bands that they intend to spend time and money developing into strong touring/performing/recording acts which is really what most bands need to go to that next level.  To me, what it gives you is a very fleeting limelight where there is not much staying power.  I think that in all industries we want the authentication of the most known and formal entities.  However, for the music industry now I think bands like us realize that you have to take your own driver’s seat until there comes along a person or company that you really feel will do all aspects of driving your figurative bus better than you, because remember, you’re now paying someone else to do what you used to do for free.

You have to take your own driver’s seat until there comes along a person or company that you really feel will do all aspects of driving your figurative bus better than you, because remember, you’re now paying someone else to do what you used to do for free.

Thank you, Andy, for sharing your thoughts on the music industry with us! 

Tune in this Friday for Part 2!  And partake in the fabulous giveaway of TUGG’s cd, Come Sunrise

Leave a comment for your chance to win! 

Double your chance by tweeting this post with the hashtag #TUGGmusic.

Want more TUGG before then?

TUGG’s official website

TUGG on Facebook

TUGG on Twitter

What do you think?  Does the music industry offer us a comparison of what’s to come for publishing?

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